HC Deb 07 October 1942 vol 383 cc1194-5
17. Mr. Stokes

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he will state the total losses of bombing aircraft over Germany and Northern Europe for the nine months ending 30th September, 1942, or near date?

Sir A. Sinclair

The number of our bomber aircraft reported lost over Germany and Northern Europe in the nine months ended 30th September, 1942, is 1,082.

18. Mr. Glenvil Hall

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether, in view of the substantial losses to aircraft in recent night raids over Germany, he is satisfied that Bomber Command takes every pre caution against unnecessary risk in the instructions it issues to crews taking part in operations?

Sir A. Sinclair

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Hall

If my right hon. Friend is satisfied, why is it that these losses are so much greater than those of Allied forces, and is he aware that there is a great deal of misgiving on this matter?

Sir A. Sinclair

No Allied forces have had to face the tremendous strength of the German night fighters and anti-aircraft and searchlight defences in Western Germany. A better criterion is this, that our forces in making deep penetration into Germany in face of these powerful defences are suffering a lower rate of casualties than the German air force in attacking this country.

Commander Locker-Lampson

Does not aggressive action cost more than merely passive action?

Mr. Glenvil Hall

Is it not a fact that too precise directions are given to pilots and very little is left to their discretion on the spot, and that this results in undue risk and loss of valuable men and aircraft?

Sir A. Sinclair

No, Sir, most certainly not. The truth is that by extraordinary tactical resource and ingenuity, the Commander-in-Chief and Staff of Bomber Command are keeping the losses extraordinarily low.

Mr. Granville

Do these figures include machines which crash on the territory of this country and are total losses?

Sir A. Sinclair

They include what is asked for in the Question.